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Sharif 'will go home next week'

  • Story Highlights
  • Exiled former PM Nawaz Sharif says he will return to Pakistan September 10
  • Sharif ousted in 1999 by Gen. Pervez Musharraf in bloodless coup
  • In a speech Wednesday, Musharraf indicated he might block Sharif's return
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Pakistani opposition leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced Thursday he will return to Pakistan on September 10 after Pakistan's top court last week lifted the exile order imposed against him.

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Supporters hold banners of deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, ousted Sharif from power in a bloodless coup in 1999. Sharif, who retains his Pakistani citizenship, had been in exile in Saudi Arabia since 2000 and has not been allowed to travel or directly take part in Pakistani politics.

He has hinted that he may try to retain his position as prime minister and has blasted fellow opposition leader Benazir Bhutto for negotiating with Musharraf on a power-sharing deal.

In a speech on Wednesday, Musharraf indicated he might block Sharif's return, according to a report from Pakistan's official news agency.

Musharraf said Sharif was told by an unidentified "friend of Pakistan" to "abide by the agreement of not returning to the country before the end of ten years of his exile," the Associated Press of Pakistan (APA) reported.

"Therefore, I also urge him to abide by the agreement," Musharraf was quoted as saying.

In an interview with CNN's Nic Robertson last week, Sharif said he had no concerns that he will be jailed upon returning to Pakistan because "I am absolutely clean and clear."

"There are no charges of corruption against me," he said. "If Musharraf tries to fabricate false cases against me, we will face them."

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Sharif said Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau "has acquired an expertise of fabricating cases against politicians" and "has lost its credibility."

"These things don't scare us anymore," he said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Nawaz SharifPervez MusharrafPakistan

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